World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE), an event which brings together buyers from air and rail operators, and exhibitors showcasing the latest onboard product innovations and services, is set to return to Hamburg Messe from 28-30 May 2024. A host of new companies, and updated visitor features, are expected for the 2024 event.
The organisers, RX (Reed Exhibitions), highlight figures from ACI that predict 2024 will be a milestone year for air travel, with more than 9.4 billion passengers expected to take to the skies, compared with 9.2 billion in 2023. This increase is largely due to the reopening of the Chinese market and a surge in domestic travel, supply chain disruptions gradually subsiding, and inflation slowing down.
Consequently, the outlook for the global inflight catering services market is equally positive, with the sector predicted to hit US$21.5 billion next year, highlighting passengers’ growing demand for better inflight experiences and improved food options. Given this optimistic outlook and the huge potential for growth, RX says there has never been a better time for transport operators to ensure their offering meets the needs of today’s modern passengers.
This year’s WTCE will boast a range of new features on the show floor, while also building on proven visitor favourites.
Driving a more sustainable future
The travel industry is on a journey towards improving its sustainability practices across all areas of the passenger experience. As a new feature for the 2024 event, WTCE will be launching ‘Steps to Sustainability’, an exhibit celebrating the accomplishments and innovations of companies that are leading the way in areas such as environmentally friendly materials, production, manufacturing and operations. The feature will include a curated range of onboard products ranging from organic foods and drinks, to amenities and tableware items.
Enhancing passenger wellbeing
Following its popularity at the 2023 event, the ‘Wellbeing Walk-through’ will return. As mental and physical wellbeing become increasingly important to consumers, air and rail operators are being challenged to enhance their onboard experiences. Catering to this, a range of WTCE exhibitors will be showcasing products that support wellbeing; from healthy food and beverages, to soft goods and amenity products.
Innovation across the cabin
Following its success over the past years, the ‘What’s New Onboard’ feature will return in 2024, showcasing a variety of products newly launched into the onboard market. This is a great opportunity for visitors to discover the latest products.
A large number of exhibitors have already signed up for the 2024 edition of the show, with more than 80% of the floor space already sold out. Noteworthy companies include Linstol, a specialist in sustainable in-flight passenger comfort items; Formia, a supplier of tailor-made, premium, in-flight amenities; and Dnata, one of the world’s largest air services providers and onboard catering companies. The latest products and services will also be on show from companies such as LSG Group, a big name in airline catering; Buzz Products, a supplier of luxury amenity kits, skincare, sleeper suits, meal serviceware and children’s kits; and Cuisine Solutions, a pioneer in supplying premium, fully cooked foods prepared using the sous-vide method.
The popular Taste of Travel Theatre will provide a platform for the industry to discuss the onboard trends of tomorrow and beyond. A programme of seminars, cooking demonstrations and tasting opportunities will allow visitors to gain insights and industry knowledge from a range of influential thought leaders and experts throughout the event.
Maximising your experience
For airline, rail and travel catering company buyers, WTCE’s exclusive VIP Buyer Programme provides upgraded attendees with a range of benefits both before and during the event. These perks include access to the VIP Buyer Lounge as well as a digital gift bag giving access to exclusive deals, giveaways and promo items from the likes of SMiZe Cream, Manna from Heaven and more. VIP buyers will be invited to collect a sample bag containing 20+ products from Nutty Nuts, Bamboovement and Gut Springenheide, among others.
This VIP Buyer Programme also offers a discounted rate for the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC), taking place at the Hamburg Messe on 27th May 2024. Here, delegates will be able to gain industry insights and networking opportunities in a programme that promises to be the catalyst for the future of the passenger experience industry.
WTCE event director, Polly Magraw, commented: “We are very excited about WTCE 2024. The outlook for the travel industry next year – and beyond – is extremely positive and we look forward to playing a key role in this upwards trajectory. As we approach 2024, the future is looking very bright; passenger numbers are growing significantly again, and travellers are looking for the excitement in the experience rather than simply the functionality of travel. WTCE is the perfect place for air and rail operators to uncover ways that they can reinvent the services they offer to their passengers to help them stand out from the competition.
“To align with these trends, there will be a strong focus at WTCE 2024 on creating memorable experiences, helping airlines meet their sustainability targets and wellbeing solutions to match the ever-evolving needs of travellers,” she added. “WTCE is the perfect event for buyers from the airline, rail and inflight catering sectors to unite and get ahead of the game. The show brings together industry professionals to connect, share insights, and discover the ‘next big thing’ when it comes to the onboard experience.”
Once again, WTCE will be co-located with the industry-renowned Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX). Both shows will be taking place at the Hamburg Messe and will together provide passenger experience professionals with a great opportunity to network and explore new products, services and solutions.
For more information or to register your interest for the event, visit the WTCE website.